How to Correct Perspective and Straighten Your Photos Using Photoshop
If you have a photo of a building that looks like it\’s falling over, or a lake that is sloping downhill, this can be easily fixed using the straighten and perspective correction tools found in Photoshop Elements.
The same tools are also available in the full Photoshop CS version. Most other image editing programs such as Paint Shop Pro also have similar tools available to achieve the same effects.
The Keyboard shortcuts mentioned in this article are based on the Windows version of Photoshop. If you using a Mac, where a keyboard shortcut uses the Ctrl key, use the Cmd key instead.
An image with buildings or anything else that obviously should be straight will look best if the buildings aren\’t tilting slightly to one side. While you can take creative tilted photos, the tilt in that case should be enough so that is obvious the photo is meant to be tilted rather than a mistake.
Image before straightening
To correct a slightly tilted photo, we\’ll use the straighten tool in Adobe Camera Raw. If you are working with a RAW file, you can just open the file in Photoshop and it should automatically open up Camera Raw.
If you want to adjust a JPEG or TIFF file, then in Photoshop go to File > Open As… In the Open As dialog, select the file you want to open, then change the \’Open As\’ option to Camera Raw (followed by a long list of RAW filetypes). Then click \’Open\’ to open the file in Camera Raw.
How to open a JPEG or TIFF file in Adobe Camera Raw
After opening the image in Camera Raw, choose the Straighten tool at the top of the ACR window. Find an area that has a clear straight line near the center of the image, then click at the top of the line and drag down to the bottom of the line. Ensure that the line you\’re dragging runs along or parallel to the line that should be straight.
Using the straighten tool in Adobe Camera Raw
Let go of the mouse button and a rotated cropping box will appear. Double click inside the box to apply the crop and straighten the image.
Double-click to accept the crop determined by the straighten tool
Image after straightening
When we take photographs of buildings they can often look like they are leaning over backwards or to one side. If this effect is extreme, the converging lines it creates can be used to great creative effect. But if the effect is only minor the image will probably look better with the perspective corrected.
Image before perspective correction
To correct the perspective of an image, open your image in Photoshop, then go to Image > Transform > Perspective. In Photoshop CS you will need to go to Edit > Transform > Perspective. A bounding box will appear around your image. In my image, I want to correct the lines converging horizontally to the left, so I grab the bottom left corner and drag it down. I could also have grabbed the top left corner and moved it up.
Correcting the horizontal perspective
Next I correct the vertical perspective by grabbing the top right corner, and dragging it out to the right (or I could have moved the top left corner out to the left).
Correcting the vertical perspective
When the image looks correct, click the green tickbox to OK the changes. In Photoshop CS there isn\’t a green tickbox – just press Enter to accept the changes you\’ve made or Esc to cancel the changes.
Image with perspective correction applied
Both the straighten and perspective correction tools are easy to use. While you may not want to use the perspective correction tools very often, it is very difficult to hold a camera exactly vertical or horizontal, so a quick straighten on any image with buildings in it is a good idea.
About the Author
Dave Kennard writes on behalf of www.discoverdigitalphotography.com, a photography website offering photography tips and tricks to help you improve your photography. The website is updated on a regular basis with articles covering all types of photography, from portrait photography to landscape photography.
Other articles cover important subjects such as photography training courses and running a photography business. For more advice and photography techniques you can use to create stunning photos, check out www.discoverdigitalphotography.com.
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